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HALLOWEEN + LABORED DAY EDITIONS (link) - Contents: Oct 25,99 - Starr Doesn't Die, But Slowly Fades Away- New IC/ For the Love of the Game/ Burning Bush/ Blacks Need not Apply/Send out the Clowns/ More Illegal Drugs;
JULY + JUNE Newsletters- More Links at Bottom


To be sure, the presidential race, even with the rising heat, passions, and attacks; is boring enough to put William Buckley to sleep. Go Donald Trump. Bush grinds on, mechanically, evasively, shabbily- and little seems to hurt him with the politicos or money men who have cast their gold dust on him. For a searing portrayal of his consummate mediocrity see


Amazingly McCain has mutated into a pseudo-Democrat, attacking Bush for tax giveaways to the rich, ignoring Social Security instabilities, and failing to support fair health care for all. This can only be good- if Bush is drawn far enough onto liberal positions to alienate the lunatic fringe that constitutes the base of the Republican party- in fact it's a stunning admission of how much Dems positions ARE the positions of the American people, and how bankrupt the Repubs tired fringe rhetoric is. McCain is an interesting and semi-decent guy- he's coming to a town meeting a couple miles from me tomorrow and I relish asking him a rough question or 2. I'm sorry, but I simply can't buy him refusing to be released from North Vietnamese captivity for 2 years- this has the smack of campaign legends.. like George Bush's fighter plane crash at 17. Though it was part of the campaign iconography, Bush never trumpeted it, and I always wondered how savagely ironic it would be if the terrified teen-age Bush had panicked and bailed out first, condemning his 2 crewmates, and wincing with hidden shame every time it was borught up. Mind you- war is hell, and that might have been the right decision- seconds later the plane might have exploded or gone into a terminal spin, but his syncophantic behavior as VEEP- pumping the Reagan voodoo agenda or dirty dishonest Willie Horton ads never showed much character (though he greatly redeemed himself in the Gulf War). I also want to ask McCain about his potato chips. Keyes is a decent speaker, even if his positions are from Uranus, and his addiction to caffeine apparent. I expect Forbes at any point to start inflating with his own hot air, until he balloons up like parade float + explodes, showering some of his boatloads of cash on a grateful populace.

UPDATE-Jan 20: Did ask McCain about his refusal to be released: he said he’s proud of it and would do it again, but I still find it incredible he would prefer years of torture than embarrassing his daddy, who’d just been appointed Pacific Fleet commander. The vastly Republican crowd in the old armory hall was overwhelmingly appreciative. McCain also took digs at food stamps, somehow using some families’ receipt of them as justification for vetoing military pay race increase. He was as funny as a Republican can be without being unintentional. Afterwards I gave an interview with a TV station as an “avowed Democrat” and said he was by far the best of the Repubs- like rating serial killers- though I was surprised at him attacking food stamps. Interestingly, I sat next to the head of a corrupt housing authority who, after I questioned what happened to a missing $13 million the FBI was investigating a generation ago (not a penny of which had been spent on the tenants), presumably had the incipient housing authority paper I’d been hired to write for .... abolished, though in a typical RI twist, they kept paying me for the next half-year.

As for Boundless Bill or Electric Al, I presume the Veepster's money, power, and experience will shut down Bradley's inside game, block his outside shots, + stymie his runners to achieve an early blowout, although Bradley was more adept in tonight’s (17th) Iowa debate. But I wish Al would get the wood out. I don't know how you can be in the public eye so long, have the greatest politician in modern history as a friend + teacher, and still manage to be so stiff and dorky in public. He simply thinks too much before he opens his mouth, then assembles his words like tinker toys in a painfully earnest fashion. The debates will be the best chance to expose Dubya's callowness, shallowness, and stupidity, but Gore will have to be far more human, something the Shrub has mastered all too well. If the press is less tolerant of appalling stupidity about the world since Ronnie, Bush may also face some tougher + tougher questions from unsympathetic reporters. Don't count on it, though.


Hillary did quite well on Letterman, though I bet everything was pre-fed to her (as manager I sure would insist on it). Letterman, however, keeled over with a quintuple(5) bypass operation 2 days later- showing some men still have a problem with Hillary. Letterman had supposedly jogged 6 miles the day before going in for a routine angiogram- finding 1 artery blocked they instantly decided to do an insanely aggressive 5- bypass. I'm a great fan of Hill- I think she showed great class, courage, and patience in her relationship with Bill + throughout the ImpScan (now the definitive word to refer to the Impeachment Scandal). I never understood the virulence with which the right and conservatives hated her, but the hatred they felt towards Bill was pathological: .... . I think the equality and mutual support of their relationship threatened conservatives entire sexual and family life-view, the very idea that this talented + formidable couple had welded into a union that was untouchable + unbeatable. Though she will face carpetbagging charges, New Yorkers are all carpetbaggers. Upstaters ARE more conservative, but they also are more unappreciative of Gulianni's abrasive bullying NYC style and progressive intrusion into people's lives. Despite the numbers, I think New Yorkers innate liberalism + Hillary will prevail. All the vast publicity about her move to Chapaqua made me cringe with the thought of legions of wackos making plans for a visit- she's still the damn first lady and they shouldn't have made her such a target, as well to sleazoid radio jocks- “Heah, Hill, you still beating your husband”. It won’t get any easier.


In a stunning move to push the boundaries of the possible, a plastic surgeon has taken up the challenge of Linda Tripp, and ostensibly, converted her from the caldron-stirring visage that so suited her actions, to ... a.... (choke) pretty woman. Seriously, isn't this the plot of NOW AND AGAIN, but is it actually possible????? I suppose to the surgeon, it's worth doing a couple million of work if it'll bring him hundreds of mils.. from people willing to pay ANYTHING. LA surgeon Geoffrey Keyes spent 7 hours carving 20 years + a lifetime of bad jokes off of Linda on Oct 14, for which he got only $28,000- paid by anonymous donors as was her Palm Springs recuperative digs and Beverly Hills coiffure and coloring. No matter what you do in America, fame is it’s own reward. On the other hand, maybe this is a big joke from Linda- maybe this is her effort to disappear- paying some actress and "surgeon" a few grand to take off the relentless heat that have made her life hell. In a few months, just before she has to appear in court, "Linda" will mysteriously die in a car crash or single engine plane crash and be quickly cremated. This IS the woman who turned her "friend" in to the FBI and plotted to destroy the president she worked for. What can we believe in anymore, when even our monsters are converted into swans? On the other hand, women seem to really like Brad Pitt. As for Tripp's long delayed wiretapping trial, that's been delayed till July, when we presumably won't hate her as much.


Departing Burlington in the dark Dec 29, we unfortunately entirely missed the scenic wonders of the Adirondacks and Lake George. After minimal sleep, extended tour of Rev. War battlefield Saratoga (which along with the capping successful Yorktown- happened on my birthday- so I'm obviously an astrological patriot), an oil change in Mechanicsville (morons put an extra qt of oil- though I got them to go out and buy Castrol- you can put that stuff on corn flakes, it's so clean), we had an aggressive spell of driving sleep, not the normal blinking out that one must tend to when it exceeds 1 1/2 seconds, but wandering all over the road uncontrollably. Collapsing in a rest stop (NY has malls at their rest stops and names them after hero's- Chas Lindbergh, Donald Duck) for a few hours, we screeched awake in a explosion of horror, aware that this was WELL over 1 1/2 seconds and I was milliseconds from imminent compression on a bridge abutment. Arriving NYC after midnight, dumped the car in Queens (they were towing cars within 1-2 miles of Times Sq.), and secured luxurious Manhattan housing for the next several days.

After watching the festivities on our big screen TV up to Moscow’s new millenium (they can’t do much worse), we ventured out make the holy pilgrimage to Times Sq. (where the last time I watched a guy take a whiz in the middle of 1 million people while his friend pounded on his shoulder, "No, no Emilio, pack it away"). New York never sleeps or closes- even on New Years Day, there are ethnic groups who couldn't care less about whatever dead person is being honored- or rather they can never stop working if they want to pay the astronomical rent. Even in little joints, the food is incredibly good, the pride of the proprietors evident (+ how can they sell a pound of cooked Alaska king scallops for $2.60 when it's $10/lb in supermarkets?). Because of perhaps understandable fears of terrorism (Tom Clancy wrote a whole BOOK about terrorists blowing up Times Sq on New Years- wish I'd seen that woman arrested in Burlington, just to see if she was related to Jane-Ann Garafalo), security was oppressive- Gulianni finally getting a chance to convert NYC into the penal colony in Escape from New York. All sewer covers were welded down for 20 blocks, trash cans were removed, mailboxes locked, helicopters hovered overhead the whole time, and presumably marksmen adorned various high perches. Police presence was overwhelming: arriving at Times Sq about 5:30pm, all side streets were closed and barricaded, the throngs of unwashed (greatly reduced because of the paranoia + police) were allowed onto Broadway only at 38th or 57th St. (Times Sq is 42-44th). Luckily I was south and wound up at 40th St., where we could see the Jumbotron, but other slobs who were also 6 hours early were stuck in Siberia: at 57th St., where they couldn't see anything. Every block was separated from the next, ringed with barricades, and rows of police; and kept only about 1/2 full. One couldn't move from one block to the next, or leave + return, leading to people relieving themselves in bottles and alcoves (WIDE MOUTH JAR was a common refrain). ALL the side streets were kept totally empty, infuriating to the throngs of people kept out of sight: about 70% of the available space was UNUSED. Make no mistake, this is a model for crowd control in the bold new century- break people up in to small dispersed groups, surround them with barricades and police, and close 70-80% of available space- Gulianni must've been tickled.

Although there were rumors that bags + packs would be searched, even for BOOZE, that didn't happen: the cops didn't hassle anyone for drinking, even the requisite hot babe who hobnobbed with them and started wearing a helmet, stick, jacket. Some superior came over and cooled them down before they got to the handcuffs. One guy apparently punched a cop for denying him entrance and was, well, removed and convinced of the inappropriateness of his behavior. He might have lived. We could have pulled rank to get in the half empty front block, but after bonded with the breathlessly beautiful girl from Sandusky, and groups of revelers fm Indiana and Virginia Tech, we stayed put- except for a successful commando mission to search out + destroy a toilet + RETURN, which entailed the crossing of 5 (FIVE) police lines. Telling the Indianans about how "right wing Indiana had given me the creeps, and the only other place was West Virginia, were the stench of (mining) death literally hung in the air"... I met the people fm W. Virginia. HELLO.

Hour after hour we celebrated the arrival of the apocalypse in Europe, London, Brazil (3? hours later), Caribbean with a rousing 10 second cheer and a swig as our feet got flatter and our bladders fatter. Finally the golden moment arrived and the crowd went berserk.. mostly with relief that they could finally go home + to the bathroom, not necessarily in that order. It was the last opportunity in a thousand years to kiss any woman within sight without being beaten or sued, and having thoroughly enjoyed the Montreal custom of kissing hello, I made the most of it for the next 2 days. Then we retired to a deli where the proprietor gave me 3/4 of a pound of tuna salad + charged me for 1/4 in a burst of good will (of course I'd asked for 1/4), and I devoured the brain food. Then we hung out in the free Irish bar on 38th (absolute dives were $80 cover) and rapped with Australian girls from my hotel. Stunningly there were no Y2K mass suicides, terrorism, or even stock mkt sell- off, as I discovered when Internet Gold tripled Dec 28 on Microsoft's purchase... a week after I sold it.


Whether the millennial spirit or all the visitors, or Gulianni's ballyhooed crackdown, New Yorkers are far more civil: at least 3 strangers made wry comments to me out of the blue; usually something I alone did; and in 5-6 days only ONE guy refused to turn his head or acknowledge my existence, something I always thought could be permanently remedied with a sharp left to the head. They are still fanatically aggressive, like when the cop ran out from the other corner of an intersection to shove me for "messing up his intersection"- I hadn't even seen him + was slowed crossing by a horse-drawn carriage. In general I find it this spirited human intercourse exhilarating, because no one's better with strangers in the first 5 minutes than me, but over time, the sheer weight of human density might be crushing. They won't open a huge empty section of a restaurant even when every seat is full; unless you're fast + selfish, you don't sit on the subway, which is the dirtiest, oldest + shabbiest of the 20 or so metro's I've seen; as I watched dozens of rats clamber fearlessly over some garbage cans 10 ft from my car, I marveled that, in NYC... even the rats live like rats. Course they don't pay $1500/month rent.

It's essentially impossible to get a driving ticket in NYC, since the maniacal Bangladeshi cabby who slams on his brakes or the Nigerian cabby who drives up your trunk DON'T, but the SECOND you stop, you will be ticketed, even at meters that you feed (they have a 1/2 hour daily street sweeping no parking). Sat night I broke down and brought the car into Manhattan, and there is great power + wonder in driving around Manhattan, passing icons from the UN to Wall St. to Empire State Blg, and the charming respect pedestrians show you. Unlike the blasé blatant pedestrians that march heedlessly across the street in LA or Seattle (were the wimp mayor canceled the spectacular Space Needle/Seattle Center celebrations), New Yorkers cast you nervous respectful looks, aware that you can and might KILL THEM. Rather than own a car, they'll spend $20 to go a few blocks in a strange car driven by an illegal alien on illegal substances, unable to carry anything sizable of their own. I even discovered how to park, winding up on 43rd St for a Phantom of the Opera show. We spent all of 10 minutes hunting for a aptmt, before succumbing to the siren lure of tourism.


The case of poor whipsawed Elian Gonzalez again displays the spectacular political tone deafness of Janet Reno, who has to be out of her mind to send him back to the basket-case of Cuba (although of course that’s largely our fault). Although it’s a difficult case, his mother + all others DIED to get him here- it’s monstrously disrespectful to her to send him back. It would mean he had to witness and endure all that horror ... in vain. Our immigration policy is irrational and evil- we keep children in prisons for years because we won’t let them in, won’t send them back, won’t do ANYTHING. Immigration is essentially a group of characters that can commit any offense without any punishment or even oversight - no one wants to deal with this issue -Repubs would toss all refugees in prison even as they sing the praises of our commitment to freedom and liberty.